September 2, 3, 2018:
I’m officially in Rome, Italy for the very first time in my life! 😀
After a non-stop three days of rushing last minute reporting jobs and transcripts and even enlisting the help of my two reporter friends to get it all done, I was finally packed and we were at Toronto Pearson International Airport to fly to Italy!
First off, we had lunch at Mill St. Brewery inside of Terminal 1. It was a surprise to me that this location of the brewery restaurant had been in the airport since 2012! It was a nice place to grab food and a quick beer before a flight. You can read about the details of the restaurant revisit here.
We finished our lunch just in time. Our connecting flight to Montreal was at 3 p.m. We arrived at 4:15 p.m. with no issue.
I hadn’t been to the YUL Airport before and was so impressed that this foodie city contained a very fitting foodie airport! There were loads and loads of restaurants with both dine-in and takeaway food. Who says that airport restaurants are bad nowadays. Now a three hour layover, like ours, was a perfect opportunity to try out the specialty restaurants housed in that no man’s zone!
When browsing and walking through the YUL Airport, we noticed a line-up for a restaurant that looked super chic with a naturey theme, patrons sitting out on the “patio” in sofas. We were super intrigued. I was amazed that there could be this much demand for a restaurant that was inside an airport!
Thus, no surprise when our tired feet led us here for a bite before our meal. When asked whether we would be eating or drinking and I replied with “Both”, the hostess led us inside where we were immediately served with water, the menu, and a container of green olives.
We again finished our meal just in time to board our 7:05 p.m. flight to Rome. Yay!! 😀
The eight-hour flight contained a hot meal (dinner) and banana bread (breakfast). It was difficult to fall asleep on this red eye flight.
By 9:30 a.m., we had arrived at the Leonardo airport!! The customs process was fast and we got out and claimed our baggage in no time.
Our check-in at the bed and breakfast wasn’t until 12 p.m. so we decided to take an Uber to the area of the BnB first to grab lunch.
Unfortunately, calling an Uber made us waste so much time in the process (because our original driver switched out on us and then the second driver took more than 20 minutes to end up with the same ETA status). Thus, we decided to taxi there instead.
Luckily, the first taxi representative we solicited right inside the airport offered a good price for our destination and we were in the taxi and on our way to the Vatican City neighbourhood within 30 minutes. Yay!
As we had lost some time in the waiting process, we went straight to the BnB to drop off our luggage. Our taxi driver was really nice and brought us to the building of the BnB without hassle.
Our BnB host, Edoardo, met us at 12:10 p.m. to show us the place (Vaticanum67) which included a common room with a mini fridge, drinks, and our room with an ensuite and a balcony view. It was so nice!
He also gave us the complimentary breakfast coupons and explained very thoroughly the attractions on a map near the area including transit instructions and options. Most importantly, he explained that the restaurants along a certain strip should be avoided (tourist traps) and to go elsewhere for meals instead. We appreciated this so much as we’re of the view that we’d rather order from an Italian menu (serving authentic Italian food) which has no English on it than to have to pay a mediocre meal meant to cost tourist’s an arm and a leg.
After dropping our bags off, we went to the nearest pizza joint that was open for our first meal in Italy!!! 😀
It was called “Bonci Pizzarium” or simply “Pizzarium”. We took a number. Upon seeing the other customers place their orders and the layout of the pizza, I recognized this place as one of the recommended pizza stops on travel videos! Who knew that we were coincidentally here to try the pizza too? It was awesome. 😀
You can click here to read about the details of our pizza lunch at Bonci.
After this, we rested at the BnB since our room was ready for us. We next went in search of grocery stores to buy fruit and bottled water.
Along the way, we stopped by a cafe called Motor Cafe for a €1 espresso. It came in a cute espresso cup. It smelled pretty good but one sip was incredibly strong. Welcome to Italian espresso, I guess? 🙂 We kept walking and browsed a second grocery store that sold a lot of higher grade products including organic and vegan items.
Ken got a phone case at a nearby cell phone store and then was on the lookout for a hair salon since his hair was getting shaggy. We were lucky enough to pass by a modern day barber shop which had a Monday €15 special for walk-ins!
We walked in and waited just 30 minutes for the next barber to be available for Ken’s cut. Meanwhile, we were served another espresso on behalf of the salon. This cup of instant espresso smelled better than the last one and was quite strong in taste too.
It was fun and a new experience for me to sit in a barber shop to watch men get their hair and faces trimmed. XD
After that, it was dinner time! My stomach was growling from the intense drops of espresso I had had.
We decided on RossoVino which was a restaurant that Edoardo recommended. We sat outside. It was the perfect summer evening to do so. There was no wind, no humidity, and no bright sunlight.
Read about our first Italian dinner experience at RossoVino here.
After dinner, we spent some time on our balcony overlooking the streets of our BnB, which was so nice.
I’m so glad that we got to try so much on our first day! Serendipitously getting to try pizza from the famed Bonci Pizzarium was a delight in itself. Day 2 tomorrow! 🙂
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Read about the rest of the trip: